Thursday, 28 August 2014

Going with a swing (and a lift and a slide)

We travelled only ten miles today, from Thorne to Keadby, but it was one of the most interesting days of our cruise so far. There were no locks, but moveable bridges galore: swinging, lifting and sliding.

After the Princess Royal Swing Footbridge comes Wykewell Lift Bridge.

Yesterday the duckweed started drifting towards our mooring in Thorne; today we were well and truly in the thick of it.

Duckweed in front of us ...

... and duckweed behind us.

It didn't really impede our progress much, though, an occasional blast of astern cleared the prop. It's nothing like as bad as leaves.

There isn't time to document all the wonderful variety of moveable bridges here, but I can't not show a few photos of the amazing Sliding Railway Bridge just east of Vazon Swing Bridge.

The railway - and it's a busy one - crosses the canal only just off the level. Rather than swinging or lifting out of the way, cables pull a great slab of angled bridge, complete with rails, so that it retracts to one side of the line to the east. It's difficult to describe without an aerial photo or plan.

As we went through the gap we could see the ends of the rails (with white marking).

As soon as we were through the bridgeman closed the bridge. It's a 24 hour a day operation.

We tied up briefly on the bridge landing so that I could go and see the bridge from above. The towpath conveniently crosses on the level affording excellent viewing. Just as I had crossed a train came past, its whistle preceding it by only a couple of seconds.

Here you can see the angled cut through the tracks. The rails either side of the join take a hammering - the noise of trains going over is incredibly loud.

Especially when a freight train crosses. This is a coal train on its way to or from Drax Power Station I expect. How do I know it's coal?

Because it says so. The noise carries straight down the canal to our mooring half a mile away.

I also have to show the reason for our being at Keadby: the lock onto the Trent. Shortly after we tied up three boats came into the lock from the river, followed by two more. The lockie had the first three wait before the swing bridge until the other two had come up the lock, then he let all five through the swingbridge at once.

This is where we are; Jubilee is the middle boat.

To end a glorious T-shirt and shorts day there was a nice sunset over Keadby (gas-fired) Power Station.

An early alarm call for us tomorrow as we'll be checked in at 0645 by the lockie ready for an estimated 0710 release onto the flood tide to take us to the safety of Torksey Cut.

I'm looking forward to it!

1 comment:

Christine at said...

As you say the rail 'joint' takes a great hammering.

Mal, who used to work with such things, says the white paint, which is on a number of areas, is used as part of a Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI)crack detection system. So the rails are being checked for integrity at regular intervals.